Fun Facts on the Beijing Olympics
As the world waits in anticipation for the greatest sports spectacle on earth, here are some fun facts to wet your appetite for the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Beijing China was awarded the Games of the XXIX Olympiad on July 13, 2001 beating out stiff competition from Toronto Canada, Paris France, Istanbul Turkey and Osaka Japan. Even though the Olympics are viewed as a sporting event, it is tinged with political overtones. It has been proposed that the awarding of the Olympic Games to Beijing was an acknowledgment by the International Olympic Committee of China’s new superpower status on the world stage. This is despite the fact there have been numerous criticisms opposing the appointment due to concerns of human rights issues, a chaotic transportation system, and a serious air pollution problem.
With the eyes of the world on Beijing, the host city has tried to answer the pollution and transportation issues with a reduction of vehicles going into the city and limiting drivers the use of their cars to alternating days. As for the human rights violations, it is hoped that with worldwide scrutiny and inviting China to host the Games, better relations and dialogue will follow.
The Beijing Olympics will officially start on August 8, 2008 at 8:08:08 pm China Standard Time. The number eight holds special significance for the Chinese as a number of good fortune. The Chinese superstitious theme is also carried in its Olympic mascots. The Beijing Olympic mascots are known collectively as the FUWA, or good luck dolls in Chinese. However, not only do the FUWA dolls serve as heralds of good wishes from China, they also each represent a color in the Olympic rings. These Olympic mascots are stylized versions of popular animals in China and have the names of Beibei, Jingjing Huanhuan, Yingying, Nini. If you take the first syllables of their names, it spells Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni, or “Welcome to Beijing” in Chinese.
Another creative marketing idea to come out of the Beijing Olympic Games is the artistic representation of its official logo. Brush calligraphy is an ancient art form for the Chinese. Using a stamp seal and writing the Jing character in stylized calligraphy, the Beijing logo is known as the “Dancing Beijing” for its appearance of grace and fluidity.
Given the controversies and the fact that China is an emerging power with a very rich culture and history, the Beijing Olympic Games will surely be an interesting event to watch!